BetVictor Northern Premier League North West Division
Saturday 8th February 2020
Ramsbottom United 3 Tadcaster Albion 0
Report by Jon Haslam
Ramsbottom United retained their place at the summit of the league standings with a comfortable sounding victory over play off chasing Tadcaster at a blustery HWRS on Saturday afternoon.
The NPL North West Division Club of the month winners for January showed just a single alteration from the 3-0 victory at Droylsden seven days earlier with Daniel Naidole replacing the injured Jamie Rother in the Rams midfield as the consistency of team selection has seen the side rise from mid table obscurity to title challengers in a sequence of results which has seen just two defeats in a sixteen match period prior to kick off.
Both teams looked to be positive from the outset with each side threatening the opener, firstly an inviting Evangelinos cross flew across the six yard box when any contact from a home player would surely have opened the scoring before Tadcaster crossed dangerously into the penalty area but a tame header from centre forward Day dropped over the bar.
There was a feeling of deja vu on fifteen minutes when a superb cross, this time from Iyrwah Gooden flew across the goalmouth and again there were no takers but the signs were promising for the hosts.
Moments later it was hearts in mouths for the home side when a quickly taken kick from former York City and Wrexham goalkeeper Michael Ingham sent quicksilver winger Kevin Dos Santos away on the left wing and when the subsequent cross was blocked the ball appeared to be running comfortably through to Rams keeper Tom Stewart but Taddy forward Day got to the loose ball first before going to ground under a challenge from the number one and despite loud appeals for a penalty kick the referee decided that there was no foul and play continued.
In an eventful opening quarter to the match the visitors brought Tom Stewart into action when the lively Dos Santos was brought down 25 yards from goal and the same player hit the target from the resultant free kick but the Rams stopper repelled the effort but served notice of the away sides attacking threat.
As the end to end feel of the encounter continued it would be Ramsbottom that would next threaten when an excellent cross from the left from Evangelinos found its way to Daniel Naidole but the well struck attempt beat Ingham but crashed against the crossbar and with the thirty minute mark reached the match was goalless.
Then with five minutes of a thoroughly watchable half remaining a moment that all those fortunate enough to witness will remember for a while to come when a Tom Kennedy pass found Nic Evangelinos and the Rams leading scorer worked some room on the corner of the penalty area before curling a sumptuous curling effort that left Ingham motionless before clipping the angle of post and crossbar before bouncing over the line and the Rams had the lead with an outstanding goal.
With a moment of brilliance separating the sides at the break the home supporters were hopeful that the Rams could continue their excellent home record which had seen their side win their previous six league matches at The Riverside scoring a staggering 27 goals in the process, although the visitors from Yorkshire were not to be underestimated after only losing three of their previous eleven fixtures on the road this term.
The first noteworthy effort of the second period came the way of the hosts when midfield dynamo Eddie Moran unleashed a crisp effort from distance which Ingham gathered leaving the hard working schemer still frustratingly searching for his first goal of the season which hopefully wont be too far away.
With the hour point reached and the hosts having the lions share of possession and the Brewers struggling to make an attacking impression so the day-trippers delved into their replacements with former Hartlepool and Grimsby player Andy Monkhouse leaving the field with the more attacking Parkin being the replacement.
As the three-quarter mark of the match was reached the Rams turned their dominance into a tangible reward when the ball found its way back to skipper Tom Kennedy on the right and the full-backs inswinging cross was headed beyond Ingham by Reuben Jerome who has now registered goals in the forwards last three consecutive outings as Ramsbottom doubled their advantage.
The second goal gave the Rams some breathing space and manager Chris Willcock utilised his bench with goalscorer Jerome being replaced by Ben Richardson shortly followed by Richie Baker returning to action in place of the impressive Josh Hmami.
As has been the case of late the substitutions made a positive impact and the Rams put the result beyond doubt with around a quarter of an hour remaining when a counter attack by the hosts found Ben Richardson unmarked in the right-hand channel and the recently arrived sub drove forward before unleashing a low shot which beat the diving Ingham to give the popular utility player his first goal for the club since returning in late January.
The three-goal margin was no more than the hosts deserved as yet again Chris Willcocks charges provided another example of the confidence his side are currently playing with as playoff-chasing Tadcaster found it difficult to create any clear cut chances in a second-half which the home side controlled for the majority of the remaining forty-five minutes.
With a crowd of almost 400 being entertained in fine style not only are Ramsbottom United the leading scorers in the league but have now only failed to score in one league match this season to date, a 0-2 loss at Pontefract in late September and the 26 league matches have contained an amazing 103 goals at an average of almost four per game so it is hoped that attendances can continue to increase as the entertainment on offer at the Riverside seldom disappoints.
With a well deserved three points safe the remainder of the contest was punctured by a couple of late substitutions but as Tadcaster continued to push forward looking for a consolation goal they were ultimately unable to test Rams keeper Tom Stewart who was superbly protected in the second period by the Ramsbottom United defenders as the hosts claimed a third consecutive clean sheet to remain two points clear of Workington, who incidentally do have a game in hand over the Rams as an intriguing end of the season looms.
Ramsbottom United:- Stewart, Fishwick, Kennedy (Capt), Moran, Thompson, Lugsden, Gooden (Jones 83 mins), Naidole, Jerome (Richardson 70 mins), Hmami ( Baker 74 mins), Evangelinos Subs not used- Fawns, Hampson